As we stated in a previous article, duplicate content on the same website is a no-no when building websites. The problem is that many blog themes, and especially WordPress sites, are rife with features that cause duplicate content. Modifying the themes before publishing and choosing themes that recognize duplicate content are solutions to the problem. But how do you know what modifications are needed? To help you, we have created a list of the most obvious ways to know how to avoid duplicate on wordpress sites.
Excerpt vs. Content on Homepage
Some people prefer reading new posts on the homepage. They do not want to bother with clicking on links to get to the rest of the story. Sometimes, however, this can cause problems by creating duplicate content. For example, if you publish your posts in their entirety on the homepage, when users go to the actual post page, the same content exists. This is duplicate content because you see the same article on more than one page. To circumvent this, instead of using the “content” tag in the index.php file, you would use the “excerpt” tag. This means that the home page will show a summary of the posts, and the actual post page will show the complete posts.
Excerpt vs. Content on Category and Search Pages
When users search a term or display a category, the results will be shown in either full posts or summaries according to the content or excerpt tags. Again, like the homepage, summaries will avoid duplicate content where full posts will add another page of duplication. So if you count the homepage, the post page, and the category page, you know have the same post on three different pages. Not good.
Use of Conditional Tags
In order to prevent search engines from indexing every page in a website, you can add a “conditional tag” to the <head></head> section of the theme’s header.php file. The code will tell search engines to ignore pages such as feeds and archives. These tags are also called “noindex” and “nofollow”.
http://www.domain.com vs. http://domain.com
People can find your website in more than one way. With the www or without. Because of this search engines view each way as separate pages. They do not recognize that www and no-www is the same thing. In order to prevent pages being indexed for both, you can add a “canonical URL tag” to your header.php file so that search engines only see the site one way.
When you assign permalinks (the nice, relevant URLs) to your blog pages, you should use a structure that defines each page accordingly. For example, if you only designate posts by title, then there is a high chance that you will have more than one article with the same name and this might cause search engines to believe there is duplicate content. But, if you add an identifier to the structure, such as the month or year, you will ensure that each is different.
Meta Tags and Page Titles
Using various SEO plugins will help with this problem. If you let WP do what it wants, sometimes you will end up with all the titles on every page the same. And often it is just the name of your website. For both the duplicate content issue and SEO purposes, this scenario is bad. Using a proper plugin will allow you to provide proper titles on the pages and better meta tags.
Be Careful When Writing
Duplicate content does not only happen by way of full posts or articles. Blocks of text that are identical can raise flags. The search engines do not necessarily “read” the whole page so they do not know that the content may be different. They only know that one block or paragraph is the same. When you write your content, be aware of duplicate content issues and mix it up a little.
Limit Multiple Categories
This duplicate content fix is a little tricky. You want to add your posts to as many categories as possible, so that they are useful to your readers, but at the same time, you know it might cause an issue. The truth is that you should add posts to more than one category if they absolutely fit and it is beneficial to your readers. An example would be when people buy items because of size and color. The item should be in both relevant categories. But, it is not necessary to place posts in several categories just because a word is mentioned in the posts. Use multiple categories wisely for your readers, but limit the number if it does not make sense.
Finally, we should mention that Google, in particular, is looking for duplicate content in excess. If you have one or two posts that appear in a couple of places, this will be a non-issue. Overall, you should take precautions to avoid duplicate content on wordpress sites, but there is no need to get paranoid.